Developments in Collective Bargaining in the Turkish Industrial Relations System

Developments in Collective Bargaining in the Turkish Industrial Relations System Management Research News Volume 14 Number 10 1991 25 Emergent Industrial Relations Systems trial sectors (12 of which have union membership in ex­ Developments in Collective cess of 50 thousand), with considerable strength in the Bargaining in the Turkish Industrial metal, energy and car manufacturing sectors. However, Relations System the Government is attempting, only partially successfully, to buy out union contracts in favour of individual contracts D.H. Simpson, Cardiff Business School, as they attempt to sell the State Economic Enterprises (SEE). In one case, Turkish Airlines, the sell off, including M. Koray and A. Sozer, Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir, Tur­ to employees, was not highly successful and is thus ques­ key tioning the privatisation programme. In another sector, for example mining, industrial action has recently been In contrast to many European Industrial Relations Sys­ prominent, with strikes and marches by unions to the tems the one in Turkey is growing in size and importance Government in Ankara. Indeed a dispute, with its Women as the Turkish Economy emerges into a fully developed Support Groups follows a well-known British pattern, al­ one. Indeed the growth patterns there have been thrown though the result was a little different. Asking for a 500% into focus, not only by Turkey's position in the recent Gulf increase, the Unions accepted as a last resort 300%, and War, but also by her application to join the EEC, made in according to BBC sources went back to the mining areas 1989 but deferred until 1995. This paper seeks to examine to pursue other forms of conflict, including the growing the emergent Turkish Industrial Relations system not only of beards! in the light of these growth patterns but also with regard to how far the Turkish Industrial Relations system mat­ On paper the legal structure of the Industrial Rela­ ches a broad European pattern, both in practice and in tions System in Turkey appears formidable with laws legal regulation from the EEC itself. covering Health and Safety, equal pay, minimum wages, industrial democracy and rights of consultation. However, As the Turkish economy is moving from one based in practice, it is not entirely certain that the emergent parts upon agriculture to one based upon manufacturing and of the economy follow directly the letter of the law. Whilst services, the Industrial Relations System is beginning to the state acts as a third party intervener and regulator the emerge in a similar fashion to the broad European pat­ exact effect of their impact is uncertain and is part of the tern, with independent trade unions, employers associ­ research on-going between the Cardiff Business School ations, a structure of collective agreements and an and Dokuz Eylul University in Izmir. extensive code of labour law. These events, however, are constrained by the state (and public income) support for The paper seeks to examine the above developments the agricultural sector, political uncertainty, both with re­ to assess the extent of union organisation, the impact of gard to the position of the president and the forthcoming collective agreements and whether in particular the Turk­ elections, and not least by the high rate of inflation at 60%. ish Industrial Relations System matches with the general Further, the balance of payments is in deficit and is grow­ European pattern. ing as is the size of the population, from less than 50 mil­ lion at the beginning of the eighties to a projected 60 million within the next few years. The contemporary history of the Industrial Relations System divides 1980 when the government introduced severe restrictions on certain unions, prohibited strike ac­ tion and imposed various incomes policies. Before that time many unions were very powerful and managed to in ­ crease wage differentials in relation to the non-unionised sector. However, in September 1980 all unions except the TURK-IS Confederation, were closed by the Military Gov­ ernment. Whilst specific legislation has not altered this situation, nevertheless, the other Union Confederations have re-emerged, and, despite restrictions on strike ac­ tivity in several years in the late eighties over 2 million worker days were lost. Consequently the union movement is growing with new membership and collective agreements in 28 indus­ http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Management Research News Emerald Publishing

Developments in Collective Bargaining in the Turkish Industrial Relations System

Management Research News, Volume 14 (10): 1 – Oct 1, 1991

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0140-9174
DOI
10.1108/eb028179
Publisher site
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Abstract

Management Research News Volume 14 Number 10 1991 25 Emergent Industrial Relations Systems trial sectors (12 of which have union membership in ex­ Developments in Collective cess of 50 thousand), with considerable strength in the Bargaining in the Turkish Industrial metal, energy and car manufacturing sectors. However, Relations System the Government is attempting, only partially successfully, to buy out union contracts in favour of individual contracts D.H. Simpson, Cardiff Business School, as they attempt to sell the State Economic Enterprises (SEE). In one case, Turkish Airlines, the sell off, including M. Koray and A. Sozer, Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir, Tur­ to employees, was not highly successful and is thus ques­ key tioning the privatisation programme. In another sector, for example mining, industrial action has recently been In contrast to many European Industrial Relations Sys­ prominent, with strikes and marches by unions to the tems the one in Turkey is growing in size and importance Government in Ankara. Indeed a dispute, with its Women as the Turkish Economy emerges into a fully developed Support Groups follows a well-known British pattern, al­ one. Indeed the growth patterns there have been thrown though the result was a little different. Asking for a 500% into focus, not only by Turkey's position in the recent Gulf increase, the Unions accepted as a last resort 300%, and War, but also by her application to join the EEC, made in according to BBC sources went back to the mining areas 1989 but deferred until 1995. This paper seeks to examine to pursue other forms of conflict, including the growing the emergent Turkish Industrial Relations system not only of beards! in the light of these growth patterns but also with regard to how far the Turkish Industrial Relations system mat­ On paper the legal structure of the Industrial Rela­ ches a broad European pattern, both in practice and in tions System in Turkey appears formidable with laws legal regulation from the EEC itself. covering Health and Safety, equal pay, minimum wages, industrial democracy and rights of consultation. However, As the Turkish economy is moving from one based in practice, it is not entirely certain that the emergent parts upon agriculture to one based upon manufacturing and of the economy follow directly the letter of the law. Whilst services, the Industrial Relations System is beginning to the state acts as a third party intervener and regulator the emerge in a similar fashion to the broad European pat­ exact effect of their impact is uncertain and is part of the tern, with independent trade unions, employers associ­ research on-going between the Cardiff Business School ations, a structure of collective agreements and an and Dokuz Eylul University in Izmir. extensive code of labour law. These events, however, are constrained by the state (and public income) support for The paper seeks to examine the above developments the agricultural sector, political uncertainty, both with re­ to assess the extent of union organisation, the impact of gard to the position of the president and the forthcoming collective agreements and whether in particular the Turk­ elections, and not least by the high rate of inflation at 60%. ish Industrial Relations System matches with the general Further, the balance of payments is in deficit and is grow­ European pattern. ing as is the size of the population, from less than 50 mil­ lion at the beginning of the eighties to a projected 60 million within the next few years. The contemporary history of the Industrial Relations System divides 1980 when the government introduced severe restrictions on certain unions, prohibited strike ac­ tion and imposed various incomes policies. Before that time many unions were very powerful and managed to in ­ crease wage differentials in relation to the non-unionised sector. However, in September 1980 all unions except the TURK-IS Confederation, were closed by the Military Gov­ ernment. Whilst specific legislation has not altered this situation, nevertheless, the other Union Confederations have re-emerged, and, despite restrictions on strike ac­ tivity in several years in the late eighties over 2 million worker days were lost. Consequently the union movement is growing with new membership and collective agreements in 28 indus­

Journal

Management Research NewsEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 1, 1991

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